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“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Toni Morrison
Spring has arrived, and the harbor is blooming. The removal of the mooring cans in front of Newport Harbor Yacht Club (NHYC) indicates that a swarm of Harbor 20s will soon be showing up to team race in two different events from April 9 - 14.
The first event on April 9 and 10 is the Palmer Grandmasters, followed by the main event – the Baldwin Cup taking place April 12 - 14. You might ask what is the difference between the two events? The simple answer is the old folks’ race is the Palmer and the kids’ race is the Baldwin. Which is kind of cool, because us old guys still like to have our day in the sun.
I won’t be competing in this event, because I have no clue how to team race, and frankly I have never reached the skill level these competitors have. I always defer to the NHYC website for its team racing definition: “Team racing, like most traditional team sports, involves strategy, advanced skill, and teamwork. However, unlike other fleet racing, team racing pits a team of four against another team of four boats. This added dimension forces players to have a tremendous amount of boat-handling ability and quick reactions.
“The key to watching these races and understanding if your team is winning the race is counting the place of each of your team’s boats, and if that number is less than 18, your team is winning the race. This is why you’ll see leading boats turn around and try to slow down the opposing team’s boats, making an effort to have their teammate pass an opponent.”
I have written this before…the excitement level has increased tremendously. While attending these events, the umpires are “informed” of their bad calls. Yes, team racing has umpires on the water similar to an umpire on the baseball field. Quite often you will hear the gallery shouting, “Come on, ump! Make a call!”
If this peaks your interest, you can go to http://baldwincup.com/racing/web-cam to watch the action. I will be on the docks drinking one or two of the 25 cent beers, heckling the umpires and telling the old guys to pull their pants up and get back in the race. Always good times and I will buy you a beer if you see me and tell me you read my column.
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Other activities around the harbor include the 71st Newport to Ensenada yacht race scheduled April 27 - 29 along with the 55th Annual Lily Call Bay Fishing Tournament April 28 and 29 hosted by the Balboa Angling Club.
I know more about team racing than I do about fishing, and what I’ve noticed is the number of people fishing in the harbor with their game faces on. It’s rather obvious who is competing because there is no lawn chair or beverage cooler next to them. These fishermen are taking notes and climbing fences to find the right spots. Here are the details of the event: 4# Test Max in Newport Harbor for Croaker, Corbina, Halibut, and Bass. It is limited to the first 75 anglers and entries must be received by Wednesday, April 25. The cost is $40 per person with an awards banquet at the Chicken Coop on Sunday, April 29 at 4 p.m. I’m a huge fan of the Balboa Angling Club, so if you’re still looking for ways to get your kids involved with the harbor, this is the place at 200 A Street, right next to Hills Fuel Dock.
We’ll be sailing in the Ensenada race this year aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon. This will be No. 33 for me, and I’ve never been more ready to get off the starting line. The owner of the boat can’t make it this year and threw me the keys. It’s the same feeling as my father throwing me the keys to the car for the first time. We’ll be flying the BCYC burgee and have put together a solid team of Doug Carey, Craig Chamberlain, Carson Reynolds, Max Moosman, and Kat and Andy Dibbel.
Wish us wind and luck!
Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for StuNewsNewport.